Please note: Potential spoilers ahead!
1. Marley & Me
Most people who have ever owned a dog, know how they quickly go from pet to family member. This film encapsulates this brilliantly. Starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, we follow a Labrador Retriever named Marley from his puppy days to adulthood. The mischievous pup leads you on an adventure of furniture-destroying, broken sleep and chaotic mayhem. This light-hearted film does have some powerful moments, especially involving the children and their feelings for Marley.
2. Watership Down
What to say about this film? Firstly it has a Universal rating, but in all honesty I think it should be more of a 12 rating. The plot follows a group of cuddly wild rabbits and their need to find a safer warren. After some bizarre 'psychedelic' animation, the rabbits set off on their journey. Along the way they meet and lose friends and cross paths with a Gestapo-style group of evil rabbits led by one horrible general. And keep an ear out for the Art Garfunkel tune, 'Bright Eyes', it's an absolute classic!
3. Two Brothers
The story begins with a mummy and daddy tiger and 2 cubs (brothers). When they are forced from their home by hunters the family is split up. The two brothers lead very different lifestyles, and one day they reunite under intense circumstances. The film follows the the values of friendship, family bonds and basically outlines how cruel and destructive mankind can be. The tiger cubs cuteness also adds to the appeal.
4. Turner & Hooch
Tom Hanks takes the role of a collective, neat policeman who gets entangled with a Dogue de Bordeaux (Hooch). After a murder, Hooch is the only witness and is taken in under Turners wing (Hanks). The uptight cop soon learns that the dog is a walking disaster and begins to change his ways, to suit the dog. The story would not be right without a love interest, which is doubled in this film as both Turner and Hooch find love. From the chaotic, slobbering monster to the loved, loyal and fun, this really is along the lines of 'The Ugly Duckling'. The end will show you just how much Hooch changes Turners life, and the reciprocal love the have for each other.
5. Mighty Joe Young
Starring Charlize Theron, this film has a touch of King Kong to it. After having Joe (a gorilla) from young, Charlize builds a natural bond with what grows to be a very large gorilla. When other characters come on the scene she is promised protection in Los Angeles for Joe, fearing he may be a target for poachers in the wild she agrees. With mankind's usual greed entering the scenario, we end up seeing a large gorilla tearing through America, chased and hunted like a savage, when all Joe ever wanted was a nice, quiet life.
These top 5 are based on our own experiences, and all should be viewed at least once as they are classics in the 'pulling on your heart-strings' genre. Please remember any films bought through the links at the top of the page go towards supporting PawsForWildlife.